O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
33 Spruce Avenue Stillorgan Industrial Park Co. Dublin Ireland Ireland
+353 1 2931040 online@obrienswine.ie Monday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm Sunday 12:30am-10pm

Monthly Archives: July 2013

  • Borie de Maurel Cuvée Sylla


    Borie de Maurel Cuvée Sylla  €36.00

    Borie de Maurel’s top wine, Cuvée Sylla has just scooped a major award, being named

    Best red wine in the Top 100 wines of the south of France.

    The Judging panel for this competition included five MWs and was comprised of some of the biggest names in the UK wine trade & press: Tim Atkin, Sarah Abbott MW,

    Matthew Stubbs MW and Oz Clarke among others.

    The Cuvée Sylla is the pinnacle of the Borie wines. An amazing Syrah that gets better and better with a couple of hours in a decanter. Finesse and power together with incredibly pure blue and black berry fruit, this wine really has it all!

    While this award is for the Cuvée Sylla, it is fair to say that the same commitment to quality runs through the whole range of wines produced by biodynamic grapegrowing “wizard” Michel Escande.

    I have picked out a few other highlights from the range below.

    Borie de Maurel la Feline  €20.99

    The most affordable of Borie de Maurel’s top wines this Syrah/Grenache blend is as good as the best wines from the top names in the region.
    Deliciously dark and sumptuous in its fruit with an intense mineral core – let it breath for an hour and match this with a good steak – heaven.

    Borie de Maurel la Belle Aude  €17.99

    Made from the Rhône grape Marsanne, this lip-smacking, mineral-rich white tastes like it could be a top white Hermitage.

    Let this wine breath a little and it develops into a multilayered, honeyed, exotic white that tastes like none other from the Languedoc.


    Borie de Maurel Cuvée Luna  €15.99

    Borie de Maurel.Owner/winemaker Michel Escande has created a stunning, richly concentrated red especially for O'Briens.

    Intense Minervois red with a wealth of rich black fruit, spice and a distinct wild herb or “garrigue” character. Hugely impressive!

  • Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2 for €25

    Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2 for €25

    With this amazing deal due to start on Friday the 26th, I thought this would be a good time to look at the team behind this outstanding Marlborough Sauvignon. 

    Established in 1994 in the heart of the internationally renowned Marlborough region, Whitehaven is the realisation of the White family's vision to create a respected and critically acclaimed winery.

    At Whitehaven they pride themselves on the exclusive use of Marlborough grapes in all their wines, a policy that ensures they deliver truly authentic Marlborough flavours in every bottle.

    Today the company is headed by Sue White, an enthusiastic advocate of the region, who continues to make the dreams she shared with her late husband Greg a reality.


    Sue leads a small, talented, committed team who together are carving global recognition for the Whitehaven label, showcasing elegant, single varietal Marlborough wines.

    Sue adopts a democratic approach to management allowing each individual to contribute fresh ideas and to flourish in their roles.  She knows the value of being surrounded by staff trusted to do their best for the business.


    Of course at the heart of any great winery lies the winemaking team and at Whitehaven they are led by Sam Snail.

    The precision of a scientific mind coupled with the creative flair of an innovator gives senior winemaker Sam Smail his edge. Sam has been with the Whitehaven since 2000; his role, the crossover between science and art.

    The team at Whitehaven think that Sauvignon Blanc offers the ultimate expression of the Marlborough region.



  • An interview with Jose María Fraile

    An interview with Jose María Fraile by Lynne Coyle, O’Briens Head Of Wine Buying

    LC: What can you tell me Jose María, about the background to the winery?

          JM: The winery was founded by myself and winemaker Alicia Eyaralar in 2003. We had previously been working together at Palacio de la Vega, which was one of leading Cooperatives in Navarra and was run for many years by my Father.

          After Palacio de la Vega was purchased by Pernod-Ricard in late nineties, we both began to think about setting up an independent, quality focussed winery. We have built a modern winery which is sympathetically integrated into the local landscape and we follow the principles of minimal intervention in the winemaking.

          The winery is built alongside the Camino de Santiago de Compestela in the cooler north-west of the Navarra region. The hot days and cool nights in this area allow for the retention of acidity and the wine and the harvest takes place up to three weeks later than in the rest of the region.

    Of course the most important thing about our winery is our pioneering winemaker, Alicia: Following her training in Barcelona, Alicia began her winemaking career in Bierzo where not only was it very unusual for a woman to be a winemaker but also the region as a whole offered tremendous scope  for modernisation.

    Our current winemaking philosophy is to balance and blend the traditional practices and modern winemaking to achieve honest wines that reflect the region and the grape varieties.  

    LC: Why do you love Tempranillo?

    JM: Tempranillo is key for us, but we believe to see it at its best it should be part of a blend and in particular when blend with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    The relatively cool climate and the “Monte-Bajo” (Low mountain) terrain really brings out the floral notes of the Merlot and the herbaceous character of the Cabernet.

    While it easy to think of these grape varieties as modern introductions to the region, there is a lot of evidence to show otherwise.

    For a time in the 13th Century, the King of Navarra also held the title Comte de Champagne so it is easy to imagine that there would have been some communication and exchange of ideas between winemakers in these two regions.

    More important is the role played by the Camino itself, with monasteries dotted all along the pilgrims path and a steady stream of monks travelling in both directions, such was the transfer of information along this path that in many ways it is useful to think of the Camino as the internet of its age.

    With wine making so central to monastic life, we can be fairly certain that some of these monks brought with them new winemaking ideas and techniques and maybe even grape varieties.

    Further evidence can be found in the stone carvings of grapes at the monasteries, recent ampleographical studies looking at the shape of the leaves in these carvings has shown them to be Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

    LC: What would you eat with the wines?

    JM: I always have a bottle of “Ars in Vitro” open at home as I find that its natural acidity makes it really versatile, but it works best with charcuterie, of course the fact that we bottle under screwcap means the wine stays fresh for two days when opened.

    The “Ars Nova” is a more structured wine and I think it works really well with richer pasta dishes such as Tomato and Chorizo penne or proper cream-free Spaghetti Carbonara.

    Of course this wine is also a perfect partner for a good steak.

    LC: What marks you out from other wineries?

    JM: We called the winery “Tandem”, which in Latin means finally, because for us to open the winery was to fulfil a dream.

    We really believe in Navarra, when we were setting up many people said to us why not go forty minutes down the road to Rioja but our vision is to get Navarra to where we feel it deserves to be.

    In our philosophy, non-intervention is key, so we use stainless steel for fermentation and we practice pigage as opposed to pumping over and as the winery is designed to be gravity fed we do everything we can to minimise the use of pumps.

    For storage inert lined cement tanks protect the character of the fruit, and after two years settling we find that no fining is required meaning that not only do our wines retain their character but also are vegan-friendly.

    The inherent paradox is our use of traditional techniques through modern methods.

    LC: What can you tell me about the labels?

    JM:  We wanted something classic yet modern reflecting passion, colour, poetry, nature, structure and elegance.

    The “Ars in Vitro” translates as Art in glass and is self-explanatory, for our flagship wine we chose “Ars Nova” (New art) which references the great leap forward made in music in 16th century, where simple Gregorian chants gave way to more complex melodies.

    We feel that along with some other like-minded wineries we can bring about such a shift in the wines of our beloved Navarra.

  • 20% off Australia & New Zealand


    20% off Australia & New Zealand

    With the good weather set to continue right through this weekend, I'm sure that all over the country people will be firing up their BBQ and when it comes to pairing wines with BBQ foods I can think of no one who does it better than our antipodean cousins who have taken this idea of grilling meat outdoors and turned it into a way of life.

    So it's with a certain amount of serendipity that we have 20% off all Australian and New Zealand wines this weekend.

    With over 100 wines on offer, there's something to suit every palate and pocket, and I have highlighted just a few of my favourites below.

    Longview Yakka Shiraz,  Now € 15.19 Save 20% 

    Family owned Longview wines have for many years possessed vineyards in one of Australia's finest cool climate terroirs.

    Their flagship Yakka Shiraz is a model of cool restrained fruit, balance and complexity, but still displays lush ripe fruit. Here we have a stunning Shiraz that is going to improve and evolve for years.

    This wine is just crying out for a charcoal grilled rib-eye steak.


    Longview Bucket Red,  Now € 11.99 Save 20% 

    The vineyards are family owned and potentially the best in the Adelaide Hills; the winemaker Ben Glaetzer is one of the Australian elite; the result is the best Australian red you will ever taste at this price!

    Spectacular fruit concentration and balance makes this red world class.

    This is just the wine to go for with homemade beef burgers.

    Bethany Cabernet/Merlot, Now € 12.99 Save 35% 

    Geoff Schrapel has been titled the 'Baron of the Barossa'. All his wines are ambassadors to the premium region of the Barossa Valley.

    True to this region his wines are rich and flavour packed and this one is no exception.

    Silky smooth with luscious ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruit.

    Delicious when paired with grilled lamb cutlets.

    Omaka Bay Sauvignon Blanc,  Now € 11.99 Save 20%

    When you open a new Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand you want it to sing from that hymn sheet of big, pungent aromas and that is exactly what this does.

    Big, bold Sauvignon, nothing thin or dilute here, this is packed with big vibrant flavours and aromas. Benchmark stuff.

    For a real treat serve it with some sizzling chilli and garlic prawns.


    Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc,  Now € 15.19 Save 20% 

    Boasting fantastic aromatics and fruit character, this is what Marlborough is all about - easily one of New Zealand's most acclaimed wines.

    Lemon grass, lime peel and elderflower on the nose, medium-bodied with gooseberry and citrus flavours, and a dry mineral finish.

    This is a wine that works perfectly with zingy summer salads.


    Ara Pathway Pinot Noir,  Now € 13.59 Save 20%   

    Made from the estates younger vines and designed to be drunk when young and floral, definitely aiming for and succeeding in making a more elegant style of Pinot.

    Floral aromatics and beautiful fruit, no hint of jamminess, this is perfectly made Marlborough Pinot Noir.

    Try it with some seared tuna steaks for a match made in heaven.



  • Time to Think Pink!


    Time to Think Pink!

    As I look out the window this afternoon it’s hard to believe it, but apparently there’s lots of glorious sunshine predicted for this weekend.

    I for one will definitely be seizing the all too rare opportunity to sit in the sun with a nice glass of rosé and what better time to take advantage of our amazing 3 for 2 offer.

    With up to eleven wines to choose from there are plenty of options and I have picked a few of my personal favourites from the offer.

    As you can see from the selection below we have a broad variety of styles of rosé included in this mix & match deal, so whatever you are planning this weekend we have the perfect wine for you!


    L'Ostal Cazes Rosé € 13.99  3 for 2 

    This is ground-breaking a new rose from the fabulous Lynch-Bages owned estate. Using their high altitude with just a touch of skin contact, this is aromatic and packed with flavour.

    This rose is one the best wines we have tried from the whole of the Languedoc; a beautiful strawberry scented dry rose that is superb with barbecued food.


    Mas Belles Eaux Rosé € 13.99 3 for 2

    Owned by Bordeaux superstar estate Pichon-Longueville, this domaine is excelling in premium Languedoc wines. This rich, dry Rosé is one of the region's finest.

    Try this with pan fried tiger prawns in chilli and garlic for a perfect pairing


    Domaine de Nizas Rosé  € 14.99 3 for 2 

    Structured, serious rosé from this highly acclaimed Languedoc estate. Owned and run by Goelet Estates (Clos Du Val).

    Everything here is estate grown and bottled and the results show in this concentrated food-friendly rosé.


    Rizzardi Chiaretto Rosé  € 13.99 3 for 2

    Rich, concentrated and bursting with ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit, this is a sumptuous rosé.
    This is the perfect Spring summer drink: lovely as an aperitif or matching fresh pasta. For a match made in heaven try this with pork/ chicken stir-fry.


    Los Vascos Rosé  € 13.99 3 for 2

    Los Vascos is the Chilean branch of world famous DBR Lafite. The quality is stellar and you will find this to be one of Chile's best rosés.

    A real treat for wine drinkers let alone fans of good dry rosé, this is structured, dry, full-flavoured rosé that delivers buckets of vibrant fruit. A new star.

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